Saudi Arabian men are starting to realise that their women might not like being treated like cattle and have brought in a mysterious monitoring system to stop them fleeing the country.
According to Raw Story, Saudi women’s “male guardians” or husbands as they are known elsewhere, began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women “under their custody” are leaving the country. Basically the electronic tagging programme turns the whole country into a big prison camp for women.
The move has not been advertised and the news is coming out after men started receiving text messages from the immigration authorities informing him that their wives were at the airport.
At the moment it is not clear what technology the authorities are using to monitor the women. People would have noticed if they had been required to wear a bracelet.
Women are not allowed to leave the kingdom without permission from their male guardian, who must give his consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.
Oddly there is no law which specifically forbids women in Saudi Arabia from driving, but the interior minister formally banned them after 47 women were arrested and punished after demonstrating in cars in November 1990.
Until now there were signs that things were changing in Saudi Arabia. Women were given the vote recently and Sheikh Abdullatif Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh, who heads the religious police commission, banned members of the commission from harassing Saudi women over their behaviour and clothing.